Libmonster ID: KZ-2273

S. L. KUZMIN

Candidate of Biological Sciences

T. L. SHAUMYAN

Candidate of Historical Sciences

Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Keywords: Kalmykia, the main Buddhist temple of Kalmykia, Buddhism, reincarnation, Tuva, Shajin Lama, Tsam, Tibetology, Buddhology

On September 20-23, 2015, the capital of the Republic of Kalmykia, Elista, hosted colorful celebrations dedicated to the tenth anniversary of the Central Hurul* - the main Buddhist temple of Kalmykia "Golden Abode of Shakyamuni Buddha".

The Kalmyks migrated to Russia from Dzungaria** over 400 years ago. Since then, they have been the only people in Europe whose traditional religion is Galug Tibetan Buddhism.

During the Soviet Union's struggle against religious beliefs, which was accompanied by repressions against clerics, all Buddhist temples in Kalmykia were closed, and then destroyed. During the Great Patriotic War, the Kalmyk people shared the fate of several repressed peoples who were deported to other regions of the USSR. When the Kalmyks returned to their homeland in the second half of the 1950s, they found that not a single church remained on their territory. The situation has been improving since the 1990s. To date, there are 27 churches and monasteries operating in the republic.

The main temple is the "Golden Abode of Shakyamuni Buddha", founded on the site blessed by the Dalai Lama XIV during his visit to the republic in 2004. The construction of the temple took place in a very busy rhythm and took about a year. Now it is the largest Buddhist temple in Russia and Europe. It houses the residence of the Supreme Lama (Shajinlama) Kalmykia-Telo Tulku Rinpoche, who is recognized as the reincarnation* * * of the great Indian saint Tilopa (928-1009), as well as one of the highest lamas of Mongolia - Dilov-hutukhta B. Jamsrangava (1884-1965).

The community of Central Khurul consists of fully ordained monks who keep their vows. In khurul, not only religious rituals and teachings are regularly held, but also enlighten the public.-


* Khurul-Kalmyk, Mongolian temple (editor's note).

** Dzungaria is a geographical and historical region of Central Asia in northern Xinjiang in northwestern China.

*** Reincarnation, transmigration of souls, reincarnation (Latin reincamatio - "reincarnation") - religious and philosophical doctrine, according to which the immortal essence of a living being is reincarnated again and again from one body to another (editor's note).

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academic work, seminars, and lectures. It serves the revival of Buddhism in the Kalmyk land, implementing the instructions of the Dalai Lama IV, the spiritual teacher of all followers of traditional Tibetan Buddhism in Russia1.

Kalmyks, like all followers of traditional Buddhism in Russia, are awaiting the Dalai Lama's visit. I would like to hope that his visit will eventually take place and that the Tibetan high priest will be able to meet with his followers in Russia.

The international forum "Buddhism in the Dialogue of East and West Cultures: Past, Present and Future" was held as part of the celebration of the decade of Central Khurul. One of the central ideas of the 2015 forum is the dialogue of East and West cultures, the dialogue of religion and science-ideas that are actively implemented by the Dalai Lama and Telo Tulku Rinpoche. These ideas are fully supported by the political leadership and the scientific community of Kalmykia.

The Forum 2015 was organized by the Government of the Republic of Kalmykia, the Central Khurul of Kalmykia, Kalmyk State University, the Kalmyk Institute for Humanitarian Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow), the Save Tibet Foundation for the Preservation of Cultural and Philosophical Traditions of Tibetan Buddhism (Moscow), and the National Museum of the Republic of Kalmykia.

The Shajin Lama delivered welcoming speeches at the opening of the forum on September 20* Telo Tulku Rinpoche, Head of the Republic of Kalmykia A.M. Orlov, Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences Professor V. P. Androsov, Oxford Buddhist art specialist R. Beer, other officials, lamas and scientists. This was followed by a Tsam dance ritual performed by 28 monks of the Dzongkar Chode Tibetan Tantric monastery in India, founded in 1277 on the border with Nepal, in front of the Hurul building. The monastery has an ancient tradition of performing this rare ritual, the performance of which is accompanied by the presence of images of deities and which helps to prevent misfortunes and eliminate difficulties and obstacles that arise. It ended with a colorful trading ritual to eliminate evil forces. This is only the second time that such a large-scale Tsam mystery has been performed in Russia.2

On September 21, after the ceremony of offering flowers to Shakyamuni Buddha in the prayer hall of the Central Khurul, the opening ceremony of the forum and its plenary session were held in the Khurul Conference Hall. Shajin Lama Telo Tulku Rinpoche spoke about the difficult path of development of Buddhism in Kalmykia, the fact that broad circles of the population did not understand the importance of reviving religion and spirituality immediately, and the complex organizational and technical issues that had to be solved almost "from scratch" during the revival of religion in the republic.

The Director of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives (Dharamsala, India), Geshe Lhakdor, noted the importance of understanding Buddhist teachings, and not just performing rituals by believers. Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences V. P. Androsov pointed out the importance of searching for points of contact between Buddhism and science, the value of Mahayana teachings becoming the property of those who study Buddhism in different countries.

Kambi Lama*** of the Republic of Tuva Lopsan Chamzy spoke about the development of Buddhism in his republic and stressed the importance of establishing ties with Kalmykia. The Secretary of the Diocese of Elista and Kalmykia, Father Alexey, noted that the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Central Khurul coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Diocese, but in fact the process of reviving Orthodoxy and Buddhism in Kalmykia began simultaneously. He pointed out the importance of mutual understanding between Buddhists and Orthodox Christians.

On the same day, breakout sessions began, where experts in various fields spoke. Meetings


* Shajin Lama - the title of the head of Buddhists in Kalmykia (editor's note).

* * Tsam is a solemn religious service performed annually in the open air in Buddhist monasteries (datsans) of Transbaikalia, Mongolia and Tibet (editor's note).

*** Kamba Lama-title of the head of the Tuva Buddhists (editor's note).

page 76

they were held in the format of three sections:

- "Tibetological and Buddhist Studies: history and Modernity", which worked at the Kalmyk Institute for Humanitarian Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (this section was a continuation of the round table "Historical and spiritual ties of Tibet with Russia, India and Mongolia", which was first held on November 12, 2014 at the Institute of Oriental Studies 3);

- "Buddhist values and issues of education, upbringing, ethics", which was held at Kalmyk State University;

- "Buddhist Culture and Art: traditions and modernity", held at the National Museum of the Republic of Kalmykia named after N. N. Palmov. In addition to the sections, the Forum included a round table "Buddhist Medicine and Astrology".

In total, more than 40 scientists from India, Mongolia, China, the United States, Great Britain, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Germany, as well as from different regions of Russia - Buryatia, Tuva, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and other cities-came to Elista to participate in the Forum.

On the last day of the Forum, September 23, an expanded meeting of the Inter-Religious Council of Kalmykia was held in the Great Meeting Hall of the Government of the Republic of Kalmykia, dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Kalmyk and Elista Diocese and the 10th anniversary of the Central Hurul "Golden Abode of Shakyamuni Buddha". In their speeches, the Shajin Lama of Kalmykia, Telo Tulku Rinpoche, and Archbishop Justinian of Kalmykia and Elista emphasized that the two faiths, without interfering in each other's affairs and strictly adhering to the canons of their respective religions, work together for the benefit of interreligious harmony in the republic.

For the first time, a meeting of the Inter-Religious Council of Kalmykia brought together Buddhists and Orthodox Christians from three Russian regions: Kalmykia, Tuva and Buryatia, which are united by the experience of living together for several centuries. The executive and legislative authorities of the Republic of Kalmykia were represented at the meeting of the Inter-Religious Council by Deputy Chairman of the Government of the Republic of Kalmykia B. V. Badmaev, Deputy Chairman of the People's Hural of the Republic N. E. Nurov, Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Republic H. B. Elbikov and other officials. State awards were presented to representatives of Buddhist and Orthodox clergy in a solemn ceremony.4

A number of cultural events were held within the framework of the Forum. Its participants took a sightseeing tour of Elista, visited the National Museum of Kalmykia, the museums of the Central Khurul and the Kalmyk Institute for Humanitarian Studies, the monument "Exodus and Return", the memorial museum "Repressed, but not Broken", which contains materials and evidence of the deportation of Kalmyks in 1943-1944. ensembles, a concert of Kalmykian art masters was held at the B. Basangov National Drama Theater.

Forum sessions, cultural performances and religious rituals clearly demonstrated that religion and science do not oppose each other, but successfully interact, bringing knowledge to a qualitatively new level. In the speeches of the guests and participants of the events held in Elista, it was repeatedly noted that Kalmykia is becoming the most important center of Buddhism in Russia.


1 Documentary film "The Golden Abode of the Buddha" - http://savetibet.ru/2015/09/21/zolotaya-obitel-buddy.html

2 Buddhist monks performed 12 sacred dances in Elista / / Rossiyskaya Gazeta, 24.09.2015 - http://www.rg.ru/2015/09/20/reg-ufo/misteria.html#/ 11245_33b3c25a/1/

3 Round Table "Historical and spiritual ties of Tibet with Russia, India and Mongolia" - http://video.ivran.ru/tibet

Buddhists and Orthodox Christians of Kalmykia celebrated memorable dates of two confessions together -http://savetibet.ru/2015/09/25/kalmykia.html Inter-religious Council held in Elista - http://blagovest-elista.ru/2015/09/23/v-eliste-sostoyalsya-mezhreligioznyj-sovet/


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